COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 9, 2021) — The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (FAC) is excited to debut “Kukuli Velarde: CORPUS,” on view Jan. 14–April 9, 2022.
The exhibition presents Peruvian American artist Kukuli Velarde’s CORPUS project in its entirety for the first time. Fifteen ceramic sculptures, each with matching tapestries, will be displayed in a symbolic representation of the annual Corpus Christi festival in Cusco, Perú. Corpus Christi is a Roman Catholic festival that is celebrated internationally; in majority-Catholic Perú, the festival holds great cultural and religious significance. Huge crowds flood the city streets to watch fifteen statues of saints and religious figures carried in procession from their respective parishes to a cathedral in the city center. The next day, the statues are carried in a specific order in procession around the central plaza. After the procession, they remain in the cathedral for seven days before being returned to their original homes.
The history of the festival in Perú dates back to Spanish colonization in the 16th century and colonial efforts to suppress indigenous religious traditions. Corpus Christi is held at the same time of year as Inti Raymi, a major indigenous religious festival held in Cusco that was banned by Spanish colonial authorities in 1572. Forbidding indigenous cultural traditions while simultaneously attempting to supplant them was a common tactic under Spanish colonial rule.
“Kukuli Velarde: CORPUS” engages with and confronts Perú’s Spanish colonial past, asserting that pre-Columbian sacred entities and the worldview they inhabit were not vanquished by Spanish conquerors, but instead cleverly blended with their Catholic counterparts, ensuring their survival. The sculptures reference indigenous pre-Columbian forms and iconographies in a visual representation of combined aesthetic, cultural, and religious traditions. They reflect the ways in which the diverse peoples of Perú and greater Latin America formed and reformed political, religious, and cultural identity in the shadow of centuries-long oppression. Velarde’s “CORPUS” asks viewers to consider this resilience via her stunningly detailed and humorously thought-provoking work.
“Kukuli Velarde: CORPUS” was organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston School of the Arts, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College and the Southwest School of Art.
A catalog has been produced by the Halsey Institute to accompany the exhibition. The publication features detailed photographs of the sculptures along with an introduction by Dr. Tey Marianna Nunn (Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative director) and essays by Katie Hirsch (Halsey Institute director) and Alfonsina Barrionuevo (Kukuli Velarde’s mother).
Reservations to visit the museum are available at fac.coloradocollege.edu or through the box office at (719) 634-5583.
Exhibition Opening Celebration
Saturday, Jan. 15
FREE museum admission. Activites include an artist talk in the gallery.
VISIT THE FAC MUSEUM
Registration is required to visit the galleries at this time. Reserve online at fac.coloradocollege.edu or call the box office at (719) 634-5583.
Museum free days are offered the second Saturday and third Friday of each month.
COVID-19 risk mitigation is in effect—proof of vaccination or a negative test result within 72 hours of visit is required for entry. For the latest information on COVID guidelines and requirements, visit the FAC website.
The FAC’s restaurant, bar and tactile gallery remain closed at this time. The Ladyfingers at the FAC shop is open during regular museum hours with hand-made, locally-sourced and inclusive goods paired with a selection of items designed to expand and enrich your FAC experience.
PLEASE NOTE: Exposure to COVID-19 is possible in public places. The FAC and Colorado College continue to closely monitor developments in the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and plan for impacts that may affect FAC and campus operations. More information available on the Colorado College website.
ABOUT KUKULI VELARDE
Kukuli Velarde is a Peruvian American artist based in Philadelphia, PA. Velarde is a multi-talented artist, working in ceramic, painting, drawing, and installation. Much of her work draws on pre-Columbian traditional forms and iconographies, highlighting colonized and syncretic identities and aesthetic systems. Velarde received a BFA from Hunter College in New York City. She is the recipient of such awards as the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant (2012), and Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (1997). Her work can be found in the collections of Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima, Perú; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, among many others. Visit kukulivelarde.com for more information.
ABOUT THE FINE ARTS CENTER MUSEUM
The FAC Museum’s permanent collection of over 15,000 objects showcases the rich history and vibrant contemporary cultures of the Southwest and the Americas, containing works of art from Native America, Hispanic and Spanish Colonial New Mexico, and 20th and 21st-century America.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
The story of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (FAC) began with the founding of the Broadmoor Art Academy 1919. A museum, performing arts theatre, and community art school, the FAC is a pillar in the cultural community of the Rocky Mountain West providing innovative, educational, and multi-disciplinary arts experiences designed to elevate the individual spirit and inspire community vitality. The FAC and Colorado College recognize and honor the original inhabitants of the land on which it resides. For more information about the FAC, visit fac.coloradocollege.edu or follow on Facebook @CSFineArtsCenter.